What I Learned From Having a Summer Internship

Every summer since I was 14 I’ve spent working. What can I say? I live an expensive lifestyle and it has to be financed somehow. I’ve worked swimming lessons, retail, lifeguarding, babysitting… the works. The summer after I graduated high school was my first Big Girl job–my first internship. After two summers as an intern in both Sales and Marketing, I realized that the experiences I learned there were never things I would be able to learn in a classroom. Getting real-world work experience in my field was such a valuable experience, such as:

1. Time Management

Both at work and outside of work. I had 40 hours a week to get everything I needed to done. That also meant that 40 hours of my week were spent at the office, and not with my friends. I had to learn to say “no” to vacations, roadtrips and other activities. I had to learn to go to bed early so I could survive when my alarm went off at 5 am.

2. Professionalism

I had to learn to dress like a professional. My office was more causal because of the summer, but I had to look presentable everyday. I was also in constant correspondence with other professionals, so I had to learn how to email and speak in a professional manner.

3. How to be Healthy

This might seem odd, but if you sit at a keyboard for 40 hours a week, run out to McDonald’s for lunch everyday then come home and binge on Netflix, you will put on some pounds. This often goes unnoticed until the first pool party you are actually able to attend. It was traumatic.

4. What You Want to Do With Your Life

Although my sales internship was a great experience, the summer spent in Marketing proved to me that I was in the right major. It’s all about learning. You could absolutely HATE your internship, but as long as you learn what you hate about it, you are making strides to find out what you want to do with your life.

5. Computer Skills

I spent the summer working in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, Microsoft Office Suite and Salesforce CRM. 2 years ago, I didn’t even know what half of those were. These skills help me in my classes and finding a job someday.

6. Resume Builder

Having work experience in your field on your resume looks really good to a potential employer. The people you worked for are also great for being a reference.

7. You Could Walk Away With A Job.

“Make sure you’re talking to us around graduation” are pretty much the best words I have ever heard, especially coming from the CEO. Interning at a place you’d like to work for someday is a great stepping stone. They might even make you an offer at the end of the year, making your senior year a breeze.

All in all, I think summer internships are a valuable experience. Make sure you are on the look out for ANY potential internships. My sister (an event planner) spent two years as a law intern, but it was a great experience and shows that she has worked in a professional environment. So get out there, show everyone your wonderful personality and land yourself an internship!

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